Thursday, April 08, 2010

‘Artadia Boston’ at the BCA

From our review of "Artadia Boston" at the Boston Center for the Arts:
The stars of the “Artadia Boston” exhibit at the Boston Center for the Arts’ Mills Gallery are Raúl González’s manic-Injun drawings. 'Pelado' is a close-up of the orange face of a fellow with a giant green bull’s-eye eye and blood dripping down his calligraphically rendered hair. 'Weapons we will use against you! Part 1' (pictured above) is a row of spindly, cartoony, Philip Guston–like orange arms wielding a club, knife, axes, broken bottle, and so on. A purposely flickering scratchy old-timey animation that González made with Len White shows a cartoon Indian’s face shot full of holes, with real smoke seeming to pour out.

This Somerville artist draws with ink and paint and old coffee and who knows what else to produce big, bright, sharply rendered, super-catchy images. He even creates stains and seeming corrections that make the drawings appear nostalgically antique. The racist stereotypes and jaunty cartoon violence call up a legacy of war and oppression between Native Americans and, well, Americans. This stops you short, but at the same time, as drawings, they’re lots of fun.

That said, the real news here is that the Artadia show, which features seven local artists who won grants last August from the New York–based non-profit Artadia, confirms that the officially sanctioned style of Boston art is not what González is doing. It’s conceptualism. Other types of art get made here — techno inventions, cartoony escapades, rapturous pattern and decoration — but when it comes to our big local round-ups, like this show or the Institute of Contemporary Art’s biennial Foster Prize, conceptualism wins hands down.
Read the rest here.

“Artadia Boston," Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St, Boston, March 26 to April 25, 2010.

Raúl González, "Weapons we will use against you! Part 1," courtesy of the artist and Carroll and Sons Art Gallery; Caleb Cole, two photos from his series "Other People's Clothes," courtesy of the artist and Gallery Kayafas, Boston; Raúl González, "Pelado"
Joe Zane, "Time Enough to Last," courtesy of the artist and Carroll and Sons Art Gallery; Claire Beckett, "Marine Lance Corporal Nicole Camala Veen playing the role of an Iraqi nurse, Wadi Al-Sahara, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, CA," 2008, courtesy of the artist and Carroll and Sons Art Gallery.


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